We discussed yesterday, looking at Travis Dermott, how the Maple Leafs had placed a pretty high premium on acquiring players with a high level of skill in their game in their approach to the 2015 Entry Draft.
At #21 on our countdown, we check in with another prospect chosen along those guidelines in the 5th round. Dmytro Timashov of the Quebec Remparts was a shocking pick, both because he meets the criteria the Leafs set out to follow and because it was curious that he had even fallen that far to begin with.
In Scott's draft day profile, he talked about the fact that Timashov, an offensively gifted winger that uses strong positioning and a gifted passing game to create offence, was ranked 44th on his list (so to be available in the 5th round was a large departure) and how his offensive production for the Remparts compared well against some of his QMJHL draft contemporaries Timo Meier and Evgeny Svechnikov, both of whom were selected in the first round.
So why did Timashov fall to the 5th round? We spoke with ESPN's Corey Pronman about the risks and rewards associated with a player like Timashov:
PPP: On the surface, Timashov seems like way too good of a prospect to be available in the 5th round where the Leafs drafted him. Is he a late-round steal or is there something we're missing?
CP: His size, physical game, and defense are issues. He also has a tendency to make some risky decisions. I like him a lot but I see what the hesitations would be.
PPP: Presumably Timashov heads back to the Remparts next season. Where do you think he needs to show improvement?
CP: I saw Timashov a few times recently. Skating appears to be a bigger issue than I thought around the draft. Not super slow, but a little wonky for a smaller guy. I know of a few NHL people who thought that was an issue for them.
The concerns Pronman raises are certainly valid, and things that Timashov will have to address in order to have a successful pro career. However we've spent the last couple of years with a number of prospects who had those other qualities to varying degrees, so to have acquired someone with more than enough skill is a departure for Leaf fans, and a welcome one.
That intriguing skill package is the reason Timashov bucks the usual trend of lower round prospects not cracking the Top 25 in their first year in the Maple Leafs system. For many voters, his skill was simply too good to pass up.
Timashov is one of the biggest high-risk/high-reward picks the Leafs have made in a long time, and there's very little that requires you to be talked into with this player; his skill is evident, his production is unquestionably impressive for the CHL level, and the knocks on his game can be addressed.
While far from a lock, Timashov is the sort of dynamic and promising prospect that the Leafs have desperately needed in the system, and someone that will be watched with great interest.